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Journal Articles L'Encéphale Year : 2020

Membrane lipids in schizophrenia and early phases of psychosis: Potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets?

Lipides membranaires dans la schizophrénie et la psychose débutante : de potentiels biomarqueurs et pistes thérapeutiques ?

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The various roles of membrane lipids in human health has urged researchers to study their impact in neuropsychiatric diseases, especially in schizophrenia spectrum disorders and more recently in early stages of psychosis. The progress in mass spectrometry technologies now allows a more comprehensive analysis of phospholipids (PL) and their fatty acid (FA) molecular species. FA are defined by a carbon chain of variable length and are said to be unsaturated when their chain has one or more carbon-carbon double bonds. The PL are composed of a hydrophilic polar head with a phosphoric acid group and an hydrophobic part with FAs; they encompass glycerophospholipids and sphingolipids. The plasma membrane is a complex and dynamic structure consisting of a lipid bilayer composed of an outer layer and an inner layer of specific lipid composition. The permanent remodeling of membrane lipids involves phospholipases especially the phospholipase A2. Seventy percent of the brain consists of lipids from different classes and molecular species. Most of the brain lipids are composed of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-enriched diacyl classes where omega-3 and omega-6 molecular species predominate. The balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is important for the neurodevelopment. PUFA are also involved in neurogenesis and neurotransmission. Sphingomyelin (SM) is a sphingolipid that influences inflammation, cell proliferation and lipid rafts formation. It is an important component of myelin sheaths of white matter and therefore is involved in cerebral connectivity. In rat models, deficiency in omega-3 causes abnormalities in dopaminergic neurotransmission, impacts on the functioning of some receptors (including cannabinoids CB1, glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, NMDA), and increases sensitivity to hallucinogens. In contrast, omega-3 supplementation improves cognitive function and prevents psychotic-like behavior in some animal models for schizophrenia. It also reduces oxidative stress and prevents demyelination. The historical membrane hypothesis of schizophrenia has led to explore the lipids abnormality in this disorder. This hypothesis was initially based on the observation of an abnormal membrane prostaglandin production in schizophrenia caused by a membrane arachidonic acid deficiency. It has evolved emphasizing the various PUFA membrane's roles in particular regarding oxidative stress, inflammation and regulation of the NMDA receptors. In patients with mental disorders, low omega-3 index is more frequent than in the general population. This lipid abnormality could lead to myelination abnormalities and cognitive deficits observed in patients. It could also participate in oxidative stress abnormalities and inflammation reported in schizophrenia. On the other hand, low omega-3 index deficit was reported to be associated with an increased cardiovascular risk, and omega-3 supplementation may also have a positive cardiovascular impact in psychiatric patients, even more than in the general population. The presence of membrane lipid abnormalities is also found in patients during the first psychotic episode (FEP). The omega-3 supplementation improved the recovery rate and prevented the loss of gray matter in FEP. In patients at ultra-high risk to develop a psychotic disorder (UHR), omega-3 supplementation has been associated with a reduction of the rate of conversion to psychosis and with metabolic changes, such as decreased activity of phospholipase A2. However, this study has not as yet been replicated. Not all patients exhibit lipid abnormalities. Several studies, including studies from our team, have found a bimodal distribution of lipids in patients with schizophrenia. But some studies have found differences (in PUFA) in the acute phase whereas our studies (on phospholipids) are in chronic phases. It will be interesting to study in more depth the links between these two parameters. Furthermore, we identified a subgroup which was identified with a deficit in sphingomyelin and PUFA whereas others have found an increase of sphingomyelin. Individuals with this abnormal lipid cluster had more cognitive impairments and more severe clinical symptoms. Because the niacin test is an indirect reflection of arachidonic acid levels, it has been proposed to identify a subset of patients with membrane lipids anomalies. Niacin test response is influenced by several factors related to lipid metabolism, including cannabis use and phospholipase A2 activity. Despite progress, the function and impact of membrane lipids are still poorly understood in schizophrenia. They could serve as biomarkers for identifying biological subgroups among patients with schizophrenia. In UHR patients, their predictive value on the conversion to psychosis should be tested. Omega-3 supplementation could be a promising treatment thanks to its good tolerance and acceptability. It could be more appropriate for patients with PUFA anomalies in a more personalized medical approach.
Les lipides membranaires jouent un rôle important dans le fonctionnement cérébral et peuvent désormais être étudiés de manière précise. Cette revue vise à familiariser le lecteur avec les lipides membranaires et les conséquences de leurs anomalies dans les troubles du spectre schizophrénique. Nous nous intéresserons aux données concernant les acides gras poly-insaturés (AGPI), les phospholipides et les sphingolipides membranaires, dans la schizophrénie, notamment dans ses phases débutantes et dans les modèles animaux correspondants. Chez l’animal, une carence en oméga-3 entraîne des anomalies neuro-développementales, tandis qu’une supplémentation en oméga-3 a un effet protecteur dans certains modèles. Chez l’homme, une altération dans la concentration membranaire en oméga-3 est observée chez certains patients. Le déficit en AGPI a été décrit comme associé à des anomalies de myélinisation et des troubles cognitifs. Des anomalies similaires peuvent également être retrouvées chez certains sujets lors du premier épisode psychotique (PEP) ou à ultra-haut risque (UHR) et certaines études suggèrent un effet bénéfique d’une supplémentation en oméga-3. Ainsi, l’identification d’une anomalie de la composition des lipides membranaires pourrait servir de biomarqueur chez certains patients, qui pourraient bénéficier d’une supplémentation en oméga-3. Dans ce contexte, l’étude de la composition des anomalies lipidiques membranaires pourrait permettre de prédire la transition psychotique ou le pronostic fonctionnel et cognitif et d’optimiser leur prise en charge. De nouvelles études sur les lipides membranaires sont nécessaires pour mieux comprendre leur implication en psychiatrie et se diriger vers une médecine personnalisée.
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inserm-02571299 , version 1 (12-05-2020)



A. Frajerman, Oussama Kebir, Boris Chaumette, Cedric Tessier, Antonin Lamaziere, et al.. Lipides membranaires dans la schizophrénie et la psychose débutante : de potentiels biomarqueurs et pistes thérapeutiques ?. L'Encéphale, 2020, pp.S0013-7006(20)30021-X. ⟨10.1016/j.encep.2019.11.009⟩. ⟨inserm-02571299⟩
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